PV Sindhu pushed World No 1 Carolina Marin right to the edge with an epic comeback in the 1st game, but fell short in the next two games, losing 21-19, 12-21, 15-21 to the Spaniard.
The 21-year-old will bring home the silver to become the youngest Indian individual Olympic medallist and the only female athlete to win a silver medal for the country. She joined shooters Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (2004, Athens) and Vijay Kumar (2012, London) and wrestler Sushil Kumar (2012, London) as India's silver medallists.
Sindhu trailed by six points at one stage in the first game, but as has been her habit at Rio 2016, showed immense grit and class to fight back and snatch it from the jaws of defeat.
Marin, however, always seemed to be in control and upped the ante to comprehensively defeat Sindhu in the 2nd game 21-12.
Sindhu kept her within touching distance in the 3rd and telling game, defending well and taking the rare opportunities to attack. It was 14-16 at one point after which Marin accelerated away and won it 21-15.
In their last five meetings in the last two years, Marin has beaten Sindhu four times with the Indian gaining an upper hand during the Denmark Super Series last year, but today she could not repeat the feat.
The hyper-aggressive Marin mixed power with precision to dominate the rallies with her acute-angled smashes interspersed with clever drops to catch the Indian often on the wrong-foot.
Sindhu struggled with the length of her strokes as gave away many points by hitting long and wide but she fought tooth and nail till the end only to come second best.
With PTI inputs